There are lots of reasons to expatriate yourself: getting a new job in another country, falling in love with someone who lives in another country, getting transferred to your company’s corporate offices, school, and, of course: adventure. It’s always good to spend some time abroad, to experience another culture from a local’s point of view and to learn how life works for people outside of the US.
Of course, knowing that moving abroad–even for just a year–is a good idea and making that move go smoothly are two totally different ideas. Here are some tips to help your move abroad flow as smoothly as possible.
If you’re moving your whole life abroad for a year or more, you’re likely going to need to take most of your belongings with you. This means hiring international movers. Trust us when we tell you that you do not want to try to pack and ship your stuff without help from the pros. As soon as you know you’re going to be moving, start looking into moving companies that specialize in international relocation services.
Sorting Through Your Stuff
Whether you know your move to another country is going to be relatively short term (a year or two) or permanent, it is never too soon to start sorting through your belongings. If the move is short term, sort your belongings into two primary categories: belongings to pack and ship to your new home and belongings that can be stored with friends or in storage until you get back. With both of these scenarios you’ll want to pare down what you own to save on space and storage/moving costs.
PRO TIP: Make sure you understand your new country’s import laws before you send your belongings with your movers. The last thing you want is for something to be held up in customs or sent back!
Get Your Documents in Order
Unlike moving to another state, moving to a new country involves some serious paperwork. You’ll likely need to apply for a visa and there are different types of visas to obtain depending on what you plan to do once you arrive. For example, if you think you’ll just be hanging out and touring, you’ll need one type of visa. If you plan to work, you’ll need a different type of visa that will allow you to be employed by a foreign employer. Talk to the State Department to figure out what documents you need to have in place before you make the hop. The sooner you do this, the better, as it will give you time to prepare and to correct any mistakes that may arise.
Moving with Pets
If you have animals that you want to bring with you, contact the State Department at the US Embassy in whatever country you’ll be living in. They can help you figure out what kind of documentation your pets will need to have, whether they’ll need specific vaccinations, etc. There are pet moving services out there, but–depending on the country to which you are moving–you should be able to move them on your own. And, of course, don’t forget that once you are abroad you’ll have to spend some time acclimating your pets to your new city, new types of food, etc.
If you are taking your children with you, you’ll have a big decision to make: are you going to homeschool them according to US educational standards? Or, are you going to enroll them in a local school? If you think your child will be moving back to the US, you’ll want to find an international school that educates in the American style, with SATs, etc. If you think your child will stay and live abroad as an adult, you’ll want to find an international school that follows the British educational mandates with A levels and GCSEs.
There are a lot of details to take care of when you decide to move to a new country–even a country that shares a border with your own! The earlier you start working through the details, the smoother your move will go.
Article Submitted By Community Writer